21 images that show how much we’ve reshaped planet Earth over the last century

logging burnt trees
An active logging site near Groveland, California.
Robert Galbraith/Reuters

There are around 7.7 billion people on Earth today. By the year 2100, there could be around 11.2 billion.

Already, the impact we’ve had on Earth is becoming clearer and clearer.

On April 22, the world will celebrate the 49th annual Earth Day, a global event that more than a billion people participate in across 192 countries. Earth Day organizers strive to increase worldwide awareness about how humans are changing the planet.

Nowhere is that transformation more apparent then in before-and-after comparisons of pictures taken in the same spot. Such photos show dying coral reefs, melting glaciers, and retreating forests in ways both striking and damning.

We’ve juxtaposed some of these images below. In some cases, the two photos were taken as much as 50 years apart; in other cases, only a decade or so passed in between.

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